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1853 U S Senate Report on Religion

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago
1853 U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Report on Religion
The clause speaks of “an establishment of religion.” What is meant by that expression? It referred, without doubt, to that establishment which existed in the mother-country…[which was an] endowment, at the public expense, in exclusion of or in preference to any other, by giving its members exclusive political rights, and by compelling the attendance of those who rejected its communion upon its worship or religious observances. These three particulars constituted that union of church and state of which our ancestors were so justly jealous, and against which they so wisely and carefully provided…They [the Founders] intended, by this Amendment, to prohibit “an establishment of religion” such as the English Church presented, or any thing like it. But they had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people…they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy.
The Reports of Committees of the Senate of the United States for theSecondt Session of the Thirty-Second Congress, 1852-53 (Washington: Robert Armstrong, 1853), pp.1-4.


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